ERFURT, Germany (RNS) — “Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.”
Martin Luther’s defiant declaration to Catholic Church leaders in 1521, as he set off the Protestant Reformation, is treasured in Germany as a motto of virtuous subversion. Now church officials and other political groups are taking a stand against attempts by the far right National Democratic Party, or NPD, to co-opt Luther’s words as a campaign slogan.
For the second straight election in the central German state of Thuringia, the NPD has put up posters incorporating the famous portrait of Luther by Lucas Cranach; instead of “Here I stand,” the rebel monk is depicted saying, “I would vote NPD, I cannot do otherwise,” alongside the party’s slogan “defend the homeland.”
The NPD, classified as a